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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Current Drought Status

State Climate Office                 803-734-9100
SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE #8-15          DNR News 803-734-3815
August 5, 2008

Governor, DNR urge voluntary water conservation

'EXTREME' DROUGHT STATUS EXPANDED TO INCLUDE 14 WESTERN COUNTIES.

South Carolina Drought Map for August 5, 2008

For previously issued drought statements see the archived status reports.

Table of all counties and drought status.
Drought Response Committee Meeting Sign-In sheet.

Discussion:

Planning by local water systems, along with conservation measures taken by upstate residents, were lauded by officials Tuesday as the state drought committee added nine upstate counties to the extreme drought category.

But with no significant relief in sight in terms of rainfall, the South Carolina Drought Response Committee determined that to help protect existing water supplies:

- Water systems, businesses and individuals in the extreme drought counties should implement aggressive conservation measures;

- Water systems need to immediately contact the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) if they anticipate water supply problems;

- Water systems should notify the DNR Drought Information Center regarding the success of their conservation actions.

"Timely planning by local water systems and conservation measures taken by many upstate citizens are helping to keep most drinking water supplies at adequate levels," said Steve de Kozlowski, Interim Deputy Director for DNR's Land, Water Conservation Division.

Much-below-normal rainfall, declining hydrologic conditions, and significant impacts to agriculture led the committee to move nine more upstate counties into the extreme drought category: Anderson, Abbeville, McCormick, Edgefield, Saluda, Greenwood, Laurens, Newberry and Laurens. These counties join five other counties that were declared in extreme drought on June 30: Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg.

Two coastal counties that have seen abundant rainfall in recent weeks, Charleston and Georgetown, were removed by the committee from being in a drought category altogether.

The state drought committee did not impose any mandatory water-use and withdrawal restrictions, but did encourage water systems, businesses and individuals in the extreme drought areas to "implement aggressive conservation measures" to reduce water use as much as possible. The committee will meet again in a month to review conditions and determine if additional actions to conserve water are needed.

Most water systems across the upstate have introduced voluntary water conservation measures, and some reported success stories during Tuesday's drought committee meeting. The Spartanburg Water System saw its water use lowered by 10 to 15 percent due to conservation measures taken by its customers, while SJWD reported an 18 percent reduction by voluntary conservation efforts.

Hope Mizzell, S.C. State Climatologist, pointed out that while the rainfall pattern over the past 30 days has improved for areas from the midlands to the coast the upstate's serious drought conditions persist.

"Upstate agriculture is really suffering," said Larry Boyleston of the S.C. Department of Agriculture. "Hay farmers and cattle producers have been especially hard hit due to the drought." Upstate cattle producers are already feeding hay to their cattle, due to the lack of grass in pasturelands, whereas hay is not usually used as a feed supplement for cattle until fall or winter.

Drought conditions have increased the intensity of wildfires, resulting in a higher number of acres burned, according to Darryl Jones with the S.C. Forestry Commission. The fiscal year, which ended June 30, produced a 19.5 percent increase in South Carolina wildfires over the five-year average, according to Jones.

For more drought information contact State Climatologist Hope Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568 or e-mail MizzellH@dnr.sc.gov.

Drought Status Table

Current Drought Status by County
Normal Incipient Moderate Severe Extreme
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
County
Status
ABBEVILLE
Extreme
AIKEN
Moderate
ALLENDALE
Moderate
ANDERSON
Extreme
BAMBERG
Moderate
BARNWELL
Moderate
BEAUFORT
Moderate
BERKELEY
Incipient
CALHOUN
Moderate
CHARLESTON
Normal
CHEROKEE
Extreme
CHESTER
Severe
CHESTERFIELD
Moderate
CLARENDON
Moderate
COLLETON
Moderate
DARLINGTON
Moderate
DILLON
Moderate
DORCHESTER
Incipient
EDGEFIELD
Extreme
FAIRFIELD
Severe
FLORENCE
Moderate
GEORGETOWN
Normal
GREENVILLE
Extreme
GREENWOOD
Extreme
HAMPTON
Moderate
HORRY
Incipient
JASPER
Moderate
KERSHAW
Severe
LANCASTER
Severe
LAURENS
Extreme
LEE
Moderate
LEXINGTON
Moderate
MARION
Moderate
MARLBORO
Moderate
MCCORMICK
Extreme
NEWBERRY
Extreme
OCONEE
Extreme
ORANGEBURG
Moderate
PICKENS
Extreme
RICHLAND
Moderate
SALUDA
Extreme
SPARTANBURG
Extreme
SUMTER
Moderate
UNION
Extreme
WILLIAMSBURG
Incipient
YORK
Severe


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Sign-In Sheet

SC Drought Response Committee Meeting, August 5, 2008
Sign-In sheet
Name & AgencyName & Agency

Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.

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